November 26, 2012

Hot chocolate *cake*

This is the last of my "Hurricane Sandy recipes".  When I made this about three weeks ago, I was thinking about time.  I felt/feel like the entire month of November passed by in a blur with all the drama associated with the hurricane.  Thanksgiving was upon us, which shocked me, but at the same time, it's hard to believe that it isn't officially winter yet.  We've already had one serious snow storm that dropped over 8 inches of snow on us in one fell swoop!
I'm ready to snuggle up and hibernate for the winter.  While I know we can't exactly hibernate, we can snuggle up with hot chocolate and cookies!  If you’re like me, you associate winter with steaming cups of hot chocolate.  What could be cozier (assuming you have power and the comforts of home).  As a twist on that favorite winter treat, I made these cute hot chocolate cups of cake on a recent Friday night for a family dinner.  I readily admit it was the simple whimsy of this dessert that appealed to me and, in general, I just welcome different ways to eat chocolate for dessert.  Sometimes all it takes is a different way of presenting something to put a smile on your face. 
I found this recipe online from the Wall Street Journal.  You only need 4 ingredients – chocolate, butter, eggs, and sugar.  Essentially, you whip the eggs and sugar into a voluminous mixture, then stir in melted chocolate and butter before transferring the batter into cups or mugs and baking them in a water bath.  As you might imagine from that description, what you end up with is something of a cross between chocolate mousse, soufflé, and custard.
My husband really enjoyed his hot chocolate cake but to be honest, it didn’t win me over.  I prefer, and maybe expected, more intensity of flavor and texture than what I got here.  Yes, I’m once again talking about something more akin to molten chocolate cake; it is, afterall, probably my favorite dessert of all time and a person just can’t help but holds things up against her gold standard...
After making these, I figure there’s really no reason not to spoon molten chocolate cake or some other cake, custard, or pudding batter into coffee or tea cups and mugs for a similar “look”, if you choose.  I actually saw some adorable small silicon teacups made precisely for this kind of purpose at a papery store recently.  I guess the idea is to think beyond the baking pan or ramekin, I suppose.  Not being the most creative girl on the block, though, I rely heavily on concrete inspiration.
Now I was thinking...these are truly cup-cakes!
This recipe calls for semisweet chocolate (I added a bit of instant espresso powder to amp up the chocolate flavor but that's optional), butter, eggs, and sugar.  Whipped cream goes well with this, as well as some vanilla or coffee ice cream.

While the list of ingredients is short, it does call for a little effort in stirring the eggs and sugar over some simmering water until warm first before beating it further into a fluffy mixture.  Then you stir the melted chocolate and butter into the eggs to combine.
The recipe didn't specify so I whipped the eggs with the whisk attachment of my standmixer(as opposed to the paddle), assuming we're going for volume.  That left my mixture with a lot of air bubbles on top and made me wonder if I did the right retrospect, I'd go with the paddle.

Pour the finished cake batter into coffee cups or mugs and bake it in a water bath, with very hot water filled about halfway up the sides.  It only needs about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

For the complete recipe Baked Chocolate Cake from Wall Street Journal

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